Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Cafe Nice, CBD

Anything to do with Fratelli Fresh and you're in for a treat. I've been a regular patron of their restaurants since Andy Bunn's appearance and still am long after he has left. I've also made it no secret how much I adore French food. It's rich and decadent, it's vibrant, produce drive. When those two collide, it's a match made in heaven. Cafe Nice is the recent inception of the gourmet produce providore after several successful Cafe Sopra chains.

You'll be making a fair few decisions here as the menu is decked out with surprisingly affordable dishes. You'll have some fun trying to guess what the french words mean in English although the waiting staff are more than happy to help you. 

You might get a little distracted, though, with the beautiful dining area, complete with wooden tiling, paintings and a smart choice in plenty of mirrors to help the natural lighting along and give a very relaxed casual ambience. You also can't miss the views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, ferries checking out at the end of the day along with the occasional train going by at eye level à la metro. You know you've hit the right place. With Quay's views constantly covered up by giant flippin' cruiser, it doesn't really get better than this.

When you do decide, you'll slowly realise the subtle injection of Italian elements courtesy of Fratelli Fresh's other restaurant, Cafe Sopra's influence. It's a smooth transition that doesn't feel jarring at all, especially when the countries are so close to each other. Tiramisu, mozarella, gnocchi, risotto, pappardelli and polenta all make guest appearances here. I don't really mind here, it's the taste I'm after, not the authenticity.  

Pissaladière 17
A rich, crumbly and buttery pastry, to which I'm not sure how it's even remotely considered similar to pizza, is a perfect medium for blankets of soft and mellow, blonde onions to cover up. It's a devilish luxury that only helped along with the saltiness of olives, capers and a fishy anchovy fillet that delights our tastebuds.

Ratatouille Niçoise with slow cooked egg 18
A trip to France is not complete without ratatouille, a traditional French stew, and so is a trip to Cafe Nice. The flavours are all mashed up and feel a little lost on each other and it's slightly difficult to taste the individual vegetables but the overall dish is heartwarming and rustic, combined with a gooey egg and a dab of toast and you've magically been transported to a farm in the French countryside. 

Poulet rôti for two with confit garlic, herbs, carrots an radishes 56
If you want to play it safe because you don't know what to get, their poulet for two is your best bet... that was an unintentional rhyme. It's a massive serving of a small whole chicken for two, cut up beautifully and it disappears quickly. It's perfectly cooked, marvelously tender, perfect for sponging all its juices. It's served simply with a side of carrots and sliced radishes in a herb sauce. There's a lot of love that goes into this dish and it's why the surrounding tables are also ordering it.

Chou-fleur with saffron gratin 10
For a side, we were recommended the cauliflower gratin. The cauliflower is a great medium for the saffron that gives it its lucid yellow colour. A golden crust is almost there as the cheese has inconsistently melted up and it could do with a little more sauce to perfect it.

Chocolate noir mousse with cocoa nib brittle 14.5
Can't ever finish a meal without some dark chocolate so we get a not too sweet rich and velvety chocolate mousse. It's lightened a little with some requisite cream and broken up with the crunchy textures of cocoa nib brittle.

Berry and lemon curd mille feuille 14.5
My dining partner happily declared it as one of the best dessert she's ever eaten and it's hard not to agree save for Flour and Stone's caramel chocolate cake narrowly taking it up to this point. They get the balance right with the superb match of sweet strawberries, chantilly cream and brulee that's cut right through with a smooth and tart lemon curd. It's then sandwiched together with multiple thin layers of crispy and slightly buttery puff pastry. Happy days.

You aren't paying a premium for semi-decent bridge side views and the prices are very reasonable. I love this place like a Frenchman loves his croissants. I'm assuming that's a lot. Seriously, I can't get enough of this place and although it's a bit premature, it'll certainly on my favourite list of restaurants this. Nice one, Fratelli Fresh you've done it again, I'm smitten. With a return trip inevitable, anyone want to come with?

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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